Asking For A Little Help With Tournament Commentary


If I’m posting this in the wrong thread, I apologize I wasn’t sure where to post this. I looked through the Tournaments section and saw only posts promoting tournaments (which I will be doing). If you could point me in the right direction I’d appreciate it.

Anyway, I was asked to provide commentary for a fighting game tournament coming up in January. The hosts want me to commentate because they think I’m funny so they apparently want me to provide color commentary. Throwing in a joke every now and then isn’t going to be a problem however I’d like to at least sound like I know what I’m talking about as far as the games go too, especially since the whole tourney’s gonna be streamed.

The games I’m being asked to commentate for are Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (which I play a little) and Mortal Kombat (which I don’t play at all). So when it comes to actual gameplay commentary it’s not going to help that one of the commentators (me) aren’t going to have anything to say.

I’m sure that if I read the strategy guides and read the boards that focus on these games on this site I can obtain a general knowledge of the technical stuff of the games but is there anything else I can do to ensure I’ll know what I’m talking about when it comes time to commentate?

All help is appreciated.


Maybe you should just not do something you know you aren’t competent enough to do?


You know, you have a point. I’ve never done this before and I may be way over my head. But this tournament is a huge deal for the people hosting it and I was asked to do it because of my sense of humor and my public speaking experience. Not thinking about whether I’d be good at it I said yes because they said I wouldn’t have to pay the entrance fee if I did!


As an occasional stream monster I can attest that one of the things people really really hate is when somebody on the mic doesn’t know wtf they’re talking about.
If you think you can learn enough about the games beforehand then go for it, but if you aren’t confident about it then I’d suggest letting somebody else do the job.

Or you can just say shit like SWAG every few seconds i think people really like that


Yeah tbh, within the fighting game scene I can’t say theres any one particular thing people dislike about commentators besides a lack of understanding of the games they are commentating about. The Adam Sessler debacle is the perfect example of this.


I see from the Tournaments section of the forum there a lot of tournaments that are going to be streamed online between now and mid-January. I’ll check out as many of those I can to listen to commentary. I’ll also be reading a lot of the guides on both of the games. And if after all that I don’t think I’m up to par, I’ll pass the job onto somebody else.

Thanks for the advice!

P.S: I hate the word SWAG with every fiber of my being. Especially when it’s being followed with a hash tag. I don’t care how bad my commentary skills are I will NEVER resort to using that word!


lol yeah that was supposed to be sarcasm.
As soon as somebody says swag I put the video on mute


Commentary is hard because it’s impossible to please everyone. I would recommend never looking at the stream chat while you’re talking, for one.

Also, some people like more informative commentary (why did the person do this? why did that work?), and others just want a lot of excitement and don’t care about the particulars of a match. If you’re partnering with someone, you need to ask the organizers of the tournament what type of commentary they want for their event, and also decide how you and your partner’s skills complement each other.

It also really, really helps to have a friendship with your commentary partner (or at least meet and talk to them a bit). I did commentary for part of Canada Cup 2010 with Gootecks and, while he was a nice guy, we had literally never met before I got put on stream. It was kind of awkward since we knew nothing about each other and had to talk in front of 10,000 people… we didn’t have a lot of chemistry at first.

The type of commentary I look for when I’m listening to a stream is the type where someone will tell me something about the game I didn’t know. That’s not to say I can’t appreciate other types of commentary, or that other types don’t have merit, but that’s what I look for in a commentator. If you’re going to be unable to do that because you don’t know much about the games, then I would suggest the other half of the commentary team knows more about the games than you. This is my personal preference, though. I tend to tune out people who can’t tell me cool things about the game.


Get another person to commentate with you. The organizers obviously want you to do colour commentary, so it’s best to get a “straight man” to do more tehcnical commentary alongside yours.


Watch some matches that you know the outcome of without sound and practice


I will have a co-commentator at the event. It will most likely be one of the organizers of the tourney but I’m not 100% sure yet. But if it is my job will be a lot easier as I know he knows the ins and outs of both of the games.

During my Winter Break I plan on watching a lot of the tournaments that are being streamed to see tourney level gameplay and how it’s commentated. That is while I’m training for the games of the tournament I’m in myself.


The key to commentary is to avoid dead air, awkwardness, and to speak clearly and confidently. If you ever listen to commentary for sporting events or large gaming events like WCG; you’ll notice that they generally have a colour commentator who keeps things interesting and a technical/descriptive commentator who explains what’s going on.

Streams are pretty shitty because there are only a few people who do either well, usually you have some asshole just yelling dumbshit for colour, and someone who doesn’t have too high an understanding of the situation doing technical. And the stream monsters eat it up, fuck that, make an effort for quality and actually try and describe what is going on and the decisions being made.